Thursday, October 28, 2010

Clem Crosby

While in San Francisco I saw a small group of paintings by Clem Crosby at George Lawson Gallery. In particular I was interested in the idea of painting over something in a way that almost obliterates it, and the way the paint gesture lay on top of the smooth formica surface. There was an illusion of thick strokes, but the paint was actually quite thin.  I could see all the traces of the brush in the surface. I could feel the energy of the movements and follow their making.

(c)Clem Crosby, "Butterfly," 20009. Oil on formica. 35"x35".

Here is an excerpt from an interview with Clem Crosby by Alli Sharma on the blog, Articulated Artists:

"In Butterfly, it’s equally a gesture and a line but I don’t want it to be figure and ground so I don’t want it to sit on top. Drawing is where I start, literally by moving the brush around as I would a pencil. I’m really stuck with this new painting. I don’t know what I’m doing. But this is where I get to, an impossible place, and then I just have to let go of all my ideas because they’re useless. And the paint won’t do what I want it to do. But then, at that point, when everything collapses, somehow I make this space where I let the work go and something happens. It’s really difficult to explain because it’s not a zen moment or anything like that. It’s just really tedious getting there." -Clem Crosby

Another artist I looked at was Sherie Franssen at Dolby Chadwick Gallery. I responded to the gestural, landscape/figurative elements of her work - and the color. She reminded me of Cecily Brown (perhaps too much; there is even one painting on the website that overtly references Brown's "Aujourd'hui Rose, 2005." There are the same copulating figures in a landscape. I found that to be a little bit disappointing. I need to think more about why.

(c) Sheri Franssen. "High Water," 2008, oil on canvas, 81"x77"

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